September 5, 2013 – Fossils are the harmless remains of animals that lived thousands or even millions of years ago. But the deposit of fossils that was recently discovered off the coast in the Spanish Canary Islands somehow has the power to send chills down our spines, even though they’re from an animal that is long extinct.
The fossils belonged to a megalodon, an extinct species of mega shark! They were found at the bottom of a 2,000-metre-deep (1.25-mile-deep) underwater mountain in October 2012.
The scientists that found them immediately had a strong feeling that the fossils belonged to a megalodon but couldn’t be sure until recently, after tests proved they did not belong to another extinct species of shark, whale, or sea cow.
On Monday the Spanish Oceanography Institute released a statement saying “[The discovery of the fossils] is an event of great scientific significance” because “They show that the biggest marine predator of all time lived, hunted, and reproduced in these waters during [the era it was alive].
Megalodon is a relative of our modern Great White Shark that went extinct two million years ago. It weighed about 100 tonnes and grew to be up to 20 metres (60 feet) long!
It ate whales, dolphins, turtles, and seals and had the most powerful bite of any animal that has ever lived. It destroyed its prey with a bite force between 10.8 and 18.2 tons, which makes its cousin the Great White Shark look like clown fish! Its teeth were up to 17 centimetres (7 inches) long, compared to the Great White Sharks’ seven-centimetre (three-inch) teeth.
Check out this picture below to get an idea of just how large the megalodon was!